Like many people my age, I grew up on the Harry Potter books.
I remember curling up beneath the covers, flashlight in hand, and staying up way too late reading about Harry’s adventures at Hogwarts. I remember waiting anxiously for the next book in the series to be released, spending the intervening time decorating my room with Harry Potter posters, watching the movies, and fashioning wands out of whatever household items I could think of.
When I was in elementary school, Hermione was my favorite character in the series. But when I read The Order of the Phoenix and met Luna for the first time, something about her seemed to jump off the page and come to life in such a vivid manner. It was almost like I knew her, and even to this day she stands out as one of the most novel creations in young adult literature.
While J.K. Rowling’s books are packed with imaginative creations, today I’m going to share with you the things I’ve learned from Luna Lovegood and why she is the best Harry Potter character.
1. She’s the most original character you’ll meet
Even by magical wizarding standards, Luna is odd. Harry’s very first impression of her confirms this.
The girl gave off an aura of distinct dottiness. Perhaps it was the fact that she had stuck her wand behind her left ear for safekeeping, or that she had chosen to wear a necklace of butterbeer caps, or that she was reading a magazine upside down.
Luna is fascinated by magical creatures others’ don’t think exist, reads a magazine Hermione dubs as “rubbish,” and makes her own jewelry out of strange objects. Luna is one of a kind, and it’s not just her uniqueness itself that makes her special, but how she is true to herself and is honest about the things she likes.
2. She doesn’t try to stand out
Luna’s character doesn’t read as one who tries to stick out. In fact, she sometimes seems blissfully unaware of how others perceive her. What makes Luna’s quirkiness so much more palatable than say, Professor Trelawney’s, is that Luna isn’t trying to put on a show. She never comes across as fake or needy for attention; she simply is as unique as she seems.
3. She really doesn’t care what others think of her
Luna is one of the few people who seem not to care about others’ opinions. She can wear radish earrings or a lion hat and be totally cool with any reactions she might get. Further, she isn’t angry even when others steal her things because they think she’s weird.
“How come people hide your stuff?” he [Harry] asked her, frowning.
“Oh…well…” She shrugged. “I think they think I’m a bit odd, you know. Some people call me ‘Loony’ Lovegood, actually.”
“That’s no reason for them to take your things,” he said flatly. “D’you want help finding them?”
“Oh no,” she said, smiling at him. “They’ll come back, they always do in the end.”
Even when targeted, Luna would rather be herself than conform, and simply deals with the reality of getting things back rather than worrying about how her classmates find her odd.
“She has that unbelievably rare quality of actually not giving a damn what anyone else thinks of her,” J.K. Rowling said in an interview. “She’s so comfortable being different. She’s fearless.”
It’s this fearlessness that makes Luna such an intriguing person, and it’s perhaps her degree of comfort in herself that’s her most unique quality of all.
4. She’s genuinely kind
One of Luna’s most striking characteristics is the kindness she shows toward others, a pure kindness unmarred by superiority or judgmentalism. She reassures Harry that he’s not crazy for seeing thestrals, and after Sirius’s death she shares with Harry her experience with loss after her mother died. It was also Luna who spoke at Dobby’s burial, offering a just the right words during such a sad moment.
“Thank you so much, Dobby, for rescuing me in that cellar. It’s so unfair that you had to die, when you were so good and brave. I’ll always remember what you did for us. I hope you’re happy now.”
5. She’s a devoted friend
Luna deeply values her friendships, perhaps because her oddities have made friendship difficult for her. She’s thrilled when Harry asks her to come to a party:
“Oh no, I’d love to go with you as friends!” said Luna, beaming as he had never seen her beam before. “Nobody’s ever asked me to a party before, as a friend!”
Her gratitude to spend time with a friend is unparalleled by anyone else in the series.
Later, when Harry, Ron, and Hermione visit Luna’s house, they find that she’s painted her bedroom with the faces of the three of them as well as Ginny and Neville, with the word friends threading through each picture. This is especially endearing since it doesn’t seem any other the others have shown the same degree of appreciation for Luna that she’s shown to them.
Additionally, it’s suggested in the seventh book that after the DA’s disbanding, Luna was one of the few who kept checking her coin to see if they were getting together again.
6. She has a deep and open-minded wisdom
One of the best and perhaps most underrated of Luna’s qualities is her intelligence (she is, after all, a Ravenclaw). Behind her strangeness, what I appreciate about Luna is the special kind of wisdom she has. When I was younger, Hermione was definitely my favorite character. She was the smart one, and very well-read. And while Hermione certainly is brilliant, I think now I resonate with the creative and intuitive wisdom that Luna possesses even more than Hermione’s logic.
Luna certainly thinks outside the box, and while she’s very well-read, she’s open to original thoughts and ideas that aren’t found in textbooks. She sees the deeper meaning behind The Tale of the Three Brothers and believes in the Deathly Hallows before any of the other students do. She later goes on to discover many of the creatures others scoffed at but she believed in. Luna also makes sense of the voices that she hears from behind the veil in the Ministry of Magic.
Luna also seems to get people and their relationships, offering thoughts on others’ behavior that could seem rude but is actually merely observant.
Altogether, Luna’s creative thinking, intuitive understanding of people and mythology, and wisdom beyond her years help make her my favorite character.
7. She stays strong in the face of danger
In addition to being one of the six students to go the Ministry of Magic at the end of Order of the Phoenix, Luna spends quite a lot of the seventh book locked in a dungeon of Malfoy Manor. Ollivander credits Luna with helping him bear the horror of being imprisoned.
“I’m going to miss you, Mr. Ollivander,” said Luna, approaching the old man.
“And I you, my dear,” said Ollivander, patting her on the shoulder. “You were an inexpressible comfort to me in that terrible place.”
8. She helps Harry locate one of the last horcruxes in the final battle
When Harry enters Hogwarts to find the final pieces needed to defeat Voldemort, it’s Luna who paves the way. She knew about and believed in Ravenclaw’s diadem, even when everyone else considered it long-lost. Luna also knew to talk to the ghost of Helena Ravenclaw about the diadem, suggesting that, like Harry, she had also discovered several things about Hogwarts few other students knew about. It was her knowledge that enabled Harry to destroy the diadem and thus defeat Voldemort at the end of the battle.
Luna is truly an amazing character.
Reading about Luna has helped me find the confidence to embrace my own creativity, uniqueness, and willingness to think outside the box.
She taught me to be comfortable with being a misfit, and to express kindness even to those who treat me poorly.
She taught me that it’s better to have a few trusted friends than to be widely popular.
She taught me to be fearless, and that it’s when we move beyond fear that we will finally feel free.